Monday Mornings with Madison

Appreciation: A Management Superpower, Part 2

Word Count: 1,574
Estimated Read Time: 6 Min.

Most managers think they know how to express appreciation to colleagues and direct reports.  And yet a recent employee survey indicates that 44% of workers had not had their manager express appreciation for their work EVER.  So either nearly half of all workers don’t deserve appreciation, or managers actually don’t know how to express appreciation in a way that is received and understood.

Part of the problem is that too many managers think a mere ‘thank you’ qualifies as appreciation.  But it is more than that.  Appreciation is an exchange between colleagues that connects great work with organizational purpose.  It is a powerful tool in which the person feels acknowledged and valued for the work they do and for the talents they possess.  It’s not just “what have you done for me lately”, but also “what do you bring to the table that is valuable to the organization.”  An employee that is with a company for more than six months should be someone the company values enough to deserve appreciation. Continue reading

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Appreciation: A Management Superpower, Part 1

The “your paycheck is appreciation enough” mantra that employers have recited in the past is passé.  Managers and business owners who still think money is the only thank you an employee ever needs may find themselves facing some major and growing business problems such as:  bad reviews on sites such as Great Place to Work, BuiltIn, Glassdoor and Indeed, an inability to recruit top talent, and high turnover.   And these days, being able to recruit, hire and retain the best talent is the most important business advantage there is.  In fact, it may be the only business advantage there is. Continue reading

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Forgiveness in the Workplace

Word Count: 1,333
Estimated Read Time: 5 ½ Min.

Most mid-sized and large companies offer employees training in a multitude of hard and soft skills.  Some of the topics commonly offered in corporate America training programs today include:  401(k)s; Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA); Attendance; Avoiding lawsuits: training managers on what not to say; Coaching vs. mentoring; Cross-training; Stress in the workplace; Diversity; Ethics; Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA); Financial wellness; Internet use; Online security; Performance problems; Public/private partnerships; Sexual harassment in the workplace; Violence and Toxicity in the workplace; Wellness; Whistleblowing; and Workers’ Compensation. Continue reading

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Ten Tips to Achieve Greater Professional Happiness and Sense of Purpose

Word Count: 1,791
Estimated Read Time: 7 Min.

Employees are always seeking professional happiness.  Competitive pay and good benefits factor into an employee’s decision to join and stay at a company, but there are many other overlooked desires that are more important than a paycheck.  The 2018 Global Talent Trends study by Mercer revealed what truly makes employees feel fulfilled and happy at work.  The study took a multi-perspective approach and collected input from 800 business executives and 1,800 HR leaders, as well as 5,000-plus employees across 21 industries and 44 countries around the world. They analyzed how employees are reimagining the future of work as it relates to their own satisfaction.  Among the findings, three factors were found to have a deep impact on employee happiness:  permanent workplace flexibility, a commitment to health and well-being and working with a purpose.  But it also requires approaching work with the right attitude.  Here are 10 tips for how to achieve that. Continue reading

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10 Ways to Be a Constructive Contrarian, Part 2

Word Count: 1,975
Estimated Read Time: 8 Min.

Being a constructive contrarian is less about going against the grain just to be difficult and more about being an independent thinker who chooses to ‘do right’ and ‘do good’ irrespective of what everyone else is doing, thinking or saying.  Taking an opposing view is not the goal.  It is the means to an end.  It is about constantly evaluating each situation and allowing the decision-making process to flow without undue influence by the crowd in order to get at the best possible results.  From that standpoint, being a constructive contrarian is a quality that all businesses need and few businesses can afford to do without. Continue reading

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10 Ways to Be a Constructive Contrarian

Word Count: 1,659
Estimated Read Time: 6 ½ Min.

Being a contrarian might seem like a flaw — a behavior that causes nothing but trouble, conflict and strife within a group or community.  However, there are times when it is not just okay to be a contrarian, but it is actually a desirable quality.  In business, there are situations that call for going against the grain and speaking out against a prevailing point of view.  At companies, group think can not only stifle creativity and innovation, it can stop people from voicing concerns when there are issues and stop anyone from going above and beyond if no one else is.  In a business environment, it is good for employees to have different points of view when there is a reason and purpose… not just for the sake of arguing or being difficult.  Let’s call this behavior a “constructive contrarian”. Continue reading

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Practical Information for Using LinkedIn

Word Count: 1,386
Estimated Read Time: 5 ½ Min.

Any businessperson who thinks LinkedIn is a waste of time, think again.  Now owned by Microsoft, LinkedIn generated $8.05 Billion in revenue in 2020.  The company, based in Sunnyvale, CA, employs over 16,000 people and has over 756 million users worldwide, including 196 million in North America, 198 Million in Europe, 206 Million in Asia/Pacific and another 114 Million in Latin America.  Of those, about 310 million are active monthly users.  It is not only the platform where professionals go to interact and network, it features a huge job board with over 15 million open jobs.  Continue reading

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Finding Leadership in Lollipop Moments

Word Count: 1,633
Estimated Read Time: 6 ½ Min.

The standard definition of leadership is “the art of motivating a group of people to act toward achieving a common objective.”  However, former First Lady Rosalyn Carter once said that “a great leader takes people where they don’t necessarily want to go, but ought to be.”  Although not the common definition used by scholars, it is an apt description for what leadership essentially is and does.   A leader guides a group toward the place where they need to be even if they don’t realize, understand or embrace it.  We associate a multitude of exalted traits to leadership.  Leaders are:  intelligent, trustworthy, humble, accountable, communicative, articulate, empathic, honest, ethical, self-controlled, confident, fair, decisive, organized, hard-working, likeable, sympathetic, courageous, visionary, principled, dedicated, creative, inspired passionate and, of course, influential.  This multitude of attributes associated with leadership make leaders sound elevated, exalted and exceptional. Continue reading

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The New Pinnacle for Brands: Brand Love, Part 3

Brand love may sound like marketing hogwash to old school business traditionalists.  But one need only look at hard line numbers to know that brand love is not only real, but in today’s world, it enhances the bottom line far more than cutting expenses, adjusting pricing, improving operational efficiencies, streamlining ergonomics and economies of motion, or outsourcing complex business processes.  Whereas once upon a time, companies might have seen marketing efforts as a waste of time and money, today everything a company does is inextricably intertwined with marketing.  Brand is everything and marketing’s focus is on finding ways to garner brand love.  In that regard, everyone in every company should be a part of the effort to generate brand love. Continue reading

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The New Pinnacle for Brands: Brand Love, Part 2

What do these companies have in common?  Lego.  Harley Davidson.  Disney.  Coca-Cola.  Apple.  YouTube.  Amazon Prime.  Google. Target.  Salesforce.  They are in different industries.  Some sell products and others provide a service.  Some are very old and others are fairly new.  But they have two things in common.  Besides being incredibly successful companies, the other big thing they share is that their customers love them.  They have “brand love.”  And the word love is not being used loosely, as in “I love coffee”.   These are brands that people use loyally and regularly, handing over their hard-earned money, month after month, year after year.  These are companies that customers rave and gush about to whomever will listen.  They willingly join brand fan clubs and loyalty programs… and support and defend their brand unfailingly to others.  They are willing to pay more for those products and services.  And customers won’t even think about abandoning a brand they “love” for a competitor.  They exhibit the kind of unwavering, faithful regard that is typically used to describe a dog’s besotted devotion to its owner.  These brands are so beloved that they become a part of their customers’ lives and identity.  Each brand has a kind of bond with its customer base that is usually afforded only to people in one’s inner circle. Continue reading

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